The Inane Anatomy of Fishing Hooks Used for Inshore Fishing

Boca Grande Fishing - headerHomosassa charters explain the different parts of this often under-appreciated yet critical part of your fishing rig

When you read articles the web about fishing the inshore waters around Homosassa and Florida, most of what you will find is stories about what fish are in season, what they’re biting on and what rigs people are using to catch them.

You may even catch something about popular rod/reel combos and techniques anglers and charters are using at a particular time.

What you probably won’t see is much about the single most vital part of the rig – the hook.

We say inane in the title because the hook itself just isn’t something people get too excited about. Experienced anglers and charters may ponder the type of hook they want to use (i.e. J-hook, circle, treble), but the actual parts of the hook are not well explained, until now.

While there are different types of hooks out there, the basic structure is the same…

Continue reading for more information about the parts of a fishing hook you will encounter aboard inshore fishing charters in Homosassa.

  • Eye – Starting at the top of the hook at the end of the shank is a closed loop we call the eye. This is where the angler or charters will tie the fishing line. Artificial lures will also have an eye where you can tie the line.
  • Shank – This is the long straight part that extends from the eye down to where the hook starts to bend. The length of the shank will vary depending on the hook. Longer shanks are easier for the fish to bend, but they are sometimes used with certain types of bait. Some hooks will have small barbs on the shank to help hold the bait in place.
  • Bend – This is the part at the end the shank that starts bending around to make the actual “hook.”  The degree of the bend will vary on the hook. Many hooks are unique based on two characteristics of their bend:
  1. Throat – the depth the hook penetrates, or the distance from where the bend starts to the barb.
  2. Gap – how wide the hook is between the point and shank. It’s very important your hook’s gap is properly sized for what you’re going after. If it’s too small, the fish will just swallow your hook and if the gap is too big, the fish won’t be able to grab hold.
Image courtesy of Mike Cline via Wikimedia
Image courtesy of Mike Cline via Wikimedia
  • Point – This is the tip of the spear, or what will actually capture the fish and reel it into the boat. It’s critical the point is sharp – if it isn’t, it won’t matter how fancy a rod/reel you have or how many instruments you have on the boat. Once the fish knows it’s a hook, all you’ll manage to catch are weeds. Anglers and charters can sharpen the hooks with a special file or simply change the hook out once the point is dull.
  • Barb – Just below the top point is another point extending from the hook known as the barb. Its purpose is to actually hold the fish once he strikes and embeds the hook in his mouth. Its best that the barb is on the small side – the larger it is, the harder it will be to remove from the fish’s mouth. For catch and release fishing, inshore charters and anglers will crimp the barb, file it down or use “barbless” hooks so it’s easier to get the hook out of the fish’s mouth.

Although expert anglers may not think about these parts specifically, understanding how they all interrelate is key to choosing the right hook for the conditions. Two other characteristics of the hook they may consider include:

  • Gauge – This is the diameter or thickness of the wire used to make the hook. Heavier gauge hooks will be harder to bend, but are heavier. Lighter hooks are easier to conceal, but will not be sufficient for bigger gamefish.
  • Finish – This is the coating of the hook that helps protect it from corrosion. Some specific finishes are designed for fishing inshore (saltwater) areas like Homosassa. Other finishes will be some sort of bright color to help attract fish to the bait.

Again, experienced anglers and charters will consider the hook’s gauge and finish when evaluating where they plan to fish and what they plan to fish for.

If all of this seems a little confusing, that’s okay. Experienced inshore fishing charters in Homosassa and around Florida will have the right hooks for the type of fishing you’ll be doing. However, once you see the hook(s) in action, you’ll be able to see each of these different parts.

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